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Dear Randy: 'F for Smoking Freedom' Update

Mayor Randy Voepel argues that Santee is with the majority of CA cities (66 percent) that have larger issues than smoking to deal with.

You can call up, send emails all over, and reach out in many directions in looking for an answer to a local problem or help with an issue- or we can get that question right to , and he can use his resources and local government know-how to get the best answer around.

Send your questions or comments on any topic, preferably a local issue, to steven.bartholow@patch.com, or leave it as a comment below, and we'll pass it onto Mayor Voepel. He's agreed to shoot for answering one a week, so let's keep those questions coming!

This is an American Lung Association, State of Tobacco Control 2012 local grades "."

I have taken some on Santee getting an . We are also the , although it must be 20 feet away from the Children’s Playgrounds. I am , from a personal freedom viewpoint.

Here is why (source data attached in PDFs):

  • Two percent, (12) of California Cities and Counties received an A rating, none in San Diego County, 0 percent.
  • Four percent, (24) of Cities and Counties received a B rating, El Cajon and Solana Beach in SD County, 11 percent.
  • 12 percent (63) of Cities and Counties received a C rating, Vista in SD County, 5 percent.
  • 16 percent (84) of Cities and Counties received a D rating, Chula Vista, Del Mar, Encinitas
  • Escondido, National City, and San Diego, 31 percent.
  • 66 percent (355) of Cities and Counties received an F rating, Carlsbad, Coronado, Imperial Beach,  La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Oceanside, Poway, San Marcos, Santee, and County Unincorporated, 53 percent.

These are not my numbers, but the American Lung Association numbers supplied by Lisa Archibald (www.lung.org/california) of that organization. 

I don’t need to spin the numbers (never do anyway, truth is truth), they speak for themselves. When a majority of people want more smoking bans, the truth is that they are in the minority.

Santee has many larger challenges facing our City. Power Plants, , many , , , keeping the going, keeping a , fighting the , on and on. Second hand smoke, in open air, 20 feet away from children issues are WAY down the “problem” food chain for me.

No City of Santee Staff time or resources were used in the production of this Dear Randy.

Respectfully submitted,

Mayor, the Proud City of Santee

James Jones April 26, 2012 at 06:27 PM
"But as long as there are 600,000 people a year dieing from secondhand smoke..." This is a great example of falsehoods being repeated and accepted as truth. Ask yourself, if direct smoking takes years to lead to terminal disease, how do they track a person exposed to second hand smoke? How do you eliminate all of the other factors that could kill a person over the course of many years and attribute their death directly to second hand smoke? Not everyone who gets lung cancer is a smoker. How do you define "exposed to second hand smoke"? There are way too many undefined, grey areas for this to be a valid statistic. Yet people react emotionally, without questioning the facts, and that is how these bans get passed.
Larry April 26, 2012 at 07:05 PM
No, but drinkers affect the public in other ways, the point is that outlawing it didn't work, and it won't for smoking either. I'm sorry for your loss, I've lost family to diseases connected with their smoking as well, but it is what it is, a freedom, something that people want to do and will do. Making more laws and telling people what to do isn't the answer. This discussion isn't really about banning smoking in the parks anyway, it's about someone's agenda, and that has nothing to do with smoking.
James Alan Jones April 26, 2012 at 07:29 PM
Ok...so you don't want to believe the American Cancer Society or the CDC...How many innocent people being killed by secondhand smoke is too many? And if in fact secondhand smoke is harmless, why are so many non-smokers dropping dead from lung cancer? You can " question the facts " if you want...but just because you don't like the facts...doesn't make them false.
joan sullivan April 26, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Larry's gem from the comments following "Smoke-Free Santee Parks Hits the Mainstage" is the perfect appropriate comment here. Mayor Voepel, tuck this one into your folder of "Words to Live By": "An un-enforceable law, a law with no real need, other than to make certain people look like they're working for positive changes in the community. "Hey, look at me, I'm making a difference." And after the good citizen badges have been handed out, the crowds will walk away, and people will light up ... but at least KUSI won't lead off their coverage of Santee by calling it the "only city in the county that allows people to smoke in parks." Good for us! Hey, when did they put that power plant over there?"
James Jones April 26, 2012 at 07:36 PM
I agree with Larry that, at least in my mind, this has less to do with smoking in a park and more to do with how information is disseminated, how it is perceived, misused and twisted and how we as a society accept certain "truths" and the fear mongering associated with all of it. There is a disturbing trend in the past 30 years to make sure the world is completely safe, completely inoffensive, completely free of religious beliefs, completely gender neutral, etc., etc. For those who think that would be utopia, the path to it is through more and more regulations and laws. I, for one, vigorously oppose that mentality.
joan sullivan April 26, 2012 at 08:46 PM
@James Alan Jones. "Secondhand smoke kills 600,000 a year"? Whatever happened to the American Cancer Society's old statistic of "Secondhand smoke kills 53,000 a year"? Fourteen years ago researcher Wanda Hamilton tried to chase down that 53,000 to see where it came from. Here's the story: http://www.forces.org/research/files/acs.htm Then it became "Secondhand smoke kills 63,000 a year", which inspired Dave Hitt's famous search, "Name Three": http://www.davehitt.com/2004/name_three.html
James Jones April 26, 2012 at 09:18 PM
Thank you for those links Joan. The experiences of those folks are exactly like what we have seen on these boards and at the Community Forum. Claims and figures with no foundation. But they SOUND good and they SOUND believable but they can't show the correlation and if you oppose it then you MUST hate chldren, anyone with asthma and you must be in favor of cancer.
Bryceson Cabading April 26, 2012 at 09:57 PM
I don't think that Mayor Voepel is correctly interpreting the individual liberties granted to us by the Constitution. The Constitution only grants us liberties if they don't intrude upon the liberties of others; since 60,000 people die from second hand smoke each year, isn't is reasonable to say that smoking in a public park intrudes upon a person's right to be live a healthy life? It doesn't take very much second hand smoke from a branded cigarette to induce harmful carcinogens into the lungs....
Bryceson Cabading April 26, 2012 at 09:58 PM
Now if it were a private area, that would be different, but a public park is open to the public, and everyone should have the right to enjoy time there without having to deal with disgusting and harmful second hand smoke.
Larry April 26, 2012 at 10:28 PM
So it's public, but only for the people you say can come in. No smokers, who else is disgusting, OH, the homeless. Wait, they live there, you gonna kick them out before you let the non-disgusting people you approve of in?
James Jones April 26, 2012 at 10:52 PM
@Bryceson: You are just parroting the data you've been spoon fed. Show us the data. But first, check out the links that Joan posted. Then go back and check how many times we've asked for proof of the danger in a park setting and make note of the deafening silence from the pro ban folks.
joan sullivan April 27, 2012 at 01:55 AM
@Bryceson Cabading: " .... since 60,000 people die from second hand smoke each year". Name three. And give me death certificates stating that they died from second hand smoke. Read my link above on the Dave Hitt research article, "Name Three".
Mary April 27, 2012 at 03:10 AM
Bryceson - I loved your post yesterday regarding the Tea Party. It showed a depth of understanding that is truly unusual for your age. I would like to suggest that the statistics you are looking at, or being told about, are for second-hand smoke in a closed environment, i.e., bars, restaurants, office buildings, or for someone living with a habitual smoker, etc. There is no correlation to smoking in an open air environment with those studies, and linking them to ban smoking in a park like setting is very misleading.
Bryceson Cabading April 27, 2012 at 04:45 AM
Larry, it isn't about smokers being disgusting. It is about smokers causing harm to other people. The habit of smoking, while disgusting, it not necessarily why I am against it in public parks. James and Joan, these articles were published in 1998 and 2004. If you take a look at modern research conducted with modern technology, you will see that these projected numbers are indeed correct. http://health.abc4.com/provider_article.php?ar=562&geo=ut
Bryceson Cabading April 27, 2012 at 04:49 AM
Mary, you make a very good point about studies not being conclusive in open areas. However, scientists have confirmed that smoke emitted from branded cigarettes does linger on objects it comes into contact with, suggesting that smoke can be carried for any number of yards, perhaps just a few feet or maybe a few miles.
James Alan Jones April 27, 2012 at 05:07 AM
The 600,000 figure is a worldwide figure...The 53,000 number is the US. As I mentioned in a previous post...If you don't " care for " the numbers from the American Lung Association or The CDC or the NIH...That's fine...go online and look...you can find some blogger who wrote an article saying it's all Hooey and as far as you folks are concerned...case closed. I know, I know...it's all about us godless liberals trying to destroy your freedom.
James Jones April 27, 2012 at 06:38 AM
@Bryceson: This is a good example of twisted language. I don't say that just to argue with you. Bear with me just a moment and see if you don't agree: "Second-Hand Smoke Kills 600,000 a Year" This is the headline, an absolute, definitive statement. So we read the article and we find this: "Children's exposure to second-hand smoke is most likely to happen at home, and the double blow of infectious diseases and tobacco "seems to be a deadly combination for children in these regions," they said." So now there are two variables for possible death for these children. Isn't it possible that death could come from the "infectious disease"? How could they possibly eliminate infectious disease as a cause? Here's where they get you if you don't read carefully: "The WHO researchers looked at data from 192 countries for their study. To get comprehensive data from all 192, they had to go back to 2004.(Note:Bryceson is this the 2004 you referred to?) They used mathematical modeling to estimate deaths and the number of years lost of life in good health." Let's repeat that for emphasis "They used mathematical modeling to estimate deaths....". So they are lying with the headline "Second Hand Smoke Kills 600,000" It should read, " We Have No Way of Knowing, But We Estimate That Second Hand.." Do you see the sleight of hand that got used on you? Most of us just skim the headline, form an opinion, repeat it and never stop to question the source.
joan sullivan April 27, 2012 at 06:58 AM
If you ever wonder of all these smoking bans, "Hey, when did they put that power plant over there?", read the book "Velvet Glove, Iron Fist: A History of Anti-smoking" by British historical researcher Christopher Snowdon. As an engineer, I appreciate Mr. Snowdon's lucid, dispassionate delivery and his meticulous research. For James Alan Jones and Bryceson Cabading: Does secondhand smoke cause lung cancer in nonsmokers? http://www.velvetgloveironfist.com/pdfs/passivesmokinglungcancer.pdf Hypothesis: Nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely to suffer from lung cancer than those who generally avoid exposure. Here is a list of every peer-reviewed study ever published which considers that hypothesis, with the editorializing stripped away to reveal the data in its pure form. The studies are listed in order of size, with the studies with the largest sample group listed first. There are 64 studies in all. The list is preceded by an introduction - a short history of the 30 years of passive smoking epidemiology, and a glossary of terms for those who are unfamiliar with epidemiology.
James Alan Jones April 27, 2012 at 07:01 AM
@Joan....Can you answer this question for me....How many non smokers is it ok to kill by blowing secondhand smoke into their lungs? Obviously you don't believe the 600,000 number or the 60,000 US number...Or is it that you believe that secondhand smoke is totally harmless? And BTW...No one would have a death certificate that says they died from secondhand smoke...heart disease...yes...lung cancer...yes...Asthma...yes...COPD...yes...
joan sullivan April 27, 2012 at 10:04 AM
Here's the source for your 600,000 worldwide deaths from second-hand smoke. "Worldwide burden of disease from exposure to second-hand smoke: a retrospective analysis of data from 192 countries" http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PII0140-6736(10)61388-8/abstract Background: Exposure to second-hand smoke is common in many countries but the magnitude of the problem worldwide is poorly described. We aimed to ESTIMATE the worldwide exposure to second-hand smoke and its burden of disease ... Methods: The burden of disease from second-hand smoke was ESTIMATED as deaths and disability-adjusted life-years (DALYS) for children and adult non-smokers. The calculations were based on disease-specific relative risk ESTIMATES and area-specific ESTIMATES of the proportion of people exposed to second-hand smoke, by comparative risk assessment methods with data from 192 countries during 2004. Findings: Worldwide, 40% of children, 33% of male non-smokers, and 35% of female non-smokers were exposed to second-hand smoke in 2004. This exposure was ESTIMATED ... " The Lancet charges you $31 to read the full test study. I didn't splurge for a pack of ESTIMATES with not an actual death certificate in the bunch.
joan sullivan April 27, 2012 at 10:17 AM
Al Gore's hockey stick had more veracity.
Mary April 27, 2012 at 02:23 PM
Brycsen I’m no scientist and I don’t know what study you are referring to, but I will agree with the idea that “smoke emitted from branded cigarettes does LINGER ON OBJECTS it comes into contact with.” I believe it because if you walk into a house of someone who smokes inside their home, or ride in a car of someone who smokes in their car, there is a lingering smell. But then again if they open their windows and let the area “air out” the smell dissipates rapidly. I am not a smoker but even I can see that second-hand smoke in an open area dissipates quickly. So although I don’t like the smell of cigarette smoke, I don’t believe that second-hand smoke in an open area is going to cause cancer. Therefore I see no need for a regulation that would ban all smoking in our parks.
rudy reyes April 27, 2012 at 03:46 PM
Where is Mr Santee!
Vicki Thomas April 27, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Since most of the people posting here don't agree with your decision Mayor Randy Voepel, I just wanted to let you know that I do. Kudos to you for seeing that there are much bigger things to worry about. The rest of you need to get off your soap boxes already, how many times do you have to say the same thing?
Mary April 27, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Vicky - There are many of us on here that agree with the Mayor. As a matter of fact, on recent post under a different article, I even listed a bunch of things that the Mayor and City Council are responsible for and specifically asked why someone thought that his proposed smoking ban topic was worth the time of our City Council Meeting. I guess we have “to say the same thing” every time someone tries to use scare tactics to push their agenda regarding the issue.
joan sullivan April 27, 2012 at 06:56 PM
It doesn't take a scientist. The smoke from any combustible material deposits particles on anything it touches. Ask your mother while she scrubs the ceiling over the gas wall heater. But certain scientists, eager to pay the mortgage and send the kids through college with anti-tobacco grants, have been churning out studies which misrepresent to the public that this phenomenon, common to all smoke, is peculiar to tobacco smoke. They call it 'third hand smoke'. The California Tobacco Control Program, funded by Proposition 99 tobacco taxes, maintains a propaganda factory, the Tobacco Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP). http://trdrp.org/ In 2010 the TRDRP published a call for applications for grants on 3rd hand smoke. It had $3.75 million to hand out to eager scientists. http://velvetgloveironfist.blogspot.com/2010/06/junk-scientists-wanted.html This resulted in the creation of a Thirdhand Smoke Consortium: http://www.trdrp.org/research_highlight/ths.php Please note that the 3rd hand smoke Consortium concentrates on INDOOR applications, not 3rd hand smoke on park benches and grass. The British blogging community did some viciously funny riffs on 3rd hand smoke, especially victimizing poor Hugo Destaillats, a TRDRP scientist who looks like Groucho Marx. http://www.public.asu.edu/~hdestail/index.html I LUV Brit bloggers.
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SanteeParkWatch January 17, 2013 at 12:55 AM
I know the Sheriffs get complaints about the riffraff and suggest banning cigarettes. La Jolla of East County needs to wake up. !
Doug Curlee January 17, 2013 at 01:54 AM
please tell me we're not gonna reheat this chestnut again..everything that needed to be said was said a year ago.. nothing has changed..not likely anything will.. doug
C.C. Marshall January 24, 2014 at 01:08 PM
While I am not a smoker and do not wish to be around them, I have to agree with the Mayor. We do not need Big Brother telling us what we can and cannot do. You can't smoke in restaurants or bars and that is a good thing. you can't pass laws to forbid every right we have. Thank you, Mayor, for telling it like it is. I was told you could not smoke in your car in El Cajon. Really??? Unbelievable!!!!

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